Campbell v. Massachusetts Partnership for Correctional Health et al
Judge George A. OToole, Jr: ORDER entered granting 2 Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis; denying 3 Motion to Appoint Counsel. The Clerk shall issue summonses as to MPCH, Dr. Churchville, and Nurse Schumaker. The plaintiff shall ser ve the summonses, complaint, and this order upon the defendants in accordance with Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure within 90 days. Because the plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, he may elect to have the United States Marshals Service complete service with all costs of service to be advanced by the United States. At this time, summonses shall not issue as to Grobleski and Lubelcyzk because Campbell has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted as to these defendants. The § 1983 claim against MPCH is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. [Order mailed to plaintiff and treasurer of PCCF on 1/11/18.] (PSSA, 3) (Main Document 10 replaced on 1/11/2018) (PSSA, 3).
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS
CIVIL ACTION NO. 17-11134-GAO
SCOTT A. CAMPBELL,
MASSACHUSETTS PARTNERSHIP FOR CORRECTIONAL HEALTH, et al.,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
January 11, 2018
For the reasons set forth below, the Court (1) grants the plaintiff’s motion for leave to
proceed in forma pauperis; (2) orders that summonses issue as to three defendants; and (3) denies
without prejudice the plaintiff’s motion for the appointment of counsel.
Scott Campbell, who is currently incarcerated at the Plymouth County Correctional
Facility, brings this action in under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (“§ 1983”) and state law for allegedly
inadequate medical treatment he received while an inmate at MCI Norfolk in 2015.
to the Amended Complaint, on May 11, 2015, Campbell became dizzy and fell down while
walking on an outdoor track at MCI Norfolk.
He experienced excessive vomiting while being
transported to the Health Services Unit (“HSU”).
At the HSU, he was examined by Nurse
Byron Shumaker, who consulted by phone with Doctor Lawrence Churchville.
Churchville’s instructions, Nurse Shumaker treated Campbell for dehydration and administered
an antiemetic drug. Campbell was placed in the “Assisted Daily Living Unit” without any
further examination that day.
The following day, Dr. Churchill examined Campbell, performed some balance tests,
prescribed antibiotics for a possible ear infection, and ordered that Campbell stay in bed until the
Campbell spent the rest of the day falling out of bed and vomiting.
On May 13, 2015, Dr. Churchville called for Campbell to be re-examined when he
learned that Campbell was still unable to ambulate or balance.
Campbell was sent to Norwood
Hospital the same day, where the attending physician immediately recognized that Campbell’s
symptoms could indicate a brain injury.
Campbell underwent an emergency MRI, which
revealed severe bleeding the cerebral cortex as the result of a stroke, and possibly evidence of a
second stroke that occurred while Campbell was in the HSU.
Campbell spoke with a doctor
who stated that the failure to treat Campbell’s first stroke in a timely manner worsened his
condition and resulted in the second stroke. The same day, Campbell was transferred to Boston
Medical Center, where the diagnosis of the doctor at Norwood hospital was confirmed.
result of the strokes, Campbell suffers injuries, including loss of vision in the right eye and
Campbell brings this action against the Massachusetts Partnership for Correctional Health
(“MPCH”) and five of its employees: Thomas Groblewski, medical director of MPCH;
Rebecca Lubelczyk, regional medical director of MPCH; Dr. Churchville; and Nurse Shumaker.
He asserts against all defendants a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for a violation of his Eight
Amendment right to adequate medical care and a state law claim for medical malpractice.
Campbell also filed motions for leave to proceed in forma pauperis and for the appointment
Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
Upon review of Campbell’s motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis and the
accompanying prison account statement, the Court concludes that plaintiff lacks funds to prepay
the filing fee.
The Court therefore will grant the motion.
the Court assesses an initial partial filing fee of $29.76.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1),
The remainder of the fee, $320.24,
shall be collected in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).
Screening of the Complaint
When a plaintiff seeks to is allowed to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee,
summonses do not issue until the Court reviews the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
Similarly, under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, prisoner complaints in civil actions that
seek redress from a governmental entity or officers or employees of a governmental entity are
subject to a preliminary screening.
Both § 1915(e)(2) and § 1915A authorize federal courts to
dismiss a complaint sua sponte if the claims therein are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim
on which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
In conducting this review, the
Court liberally construes the complaint because the plaintiff is proceeding pro se.
See Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972).
Under Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a pleading must include “a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed. R. Civ. P.
8(a)(2). This means that it needs to allege “enough detail to provide a defendant with ‘fair notice
of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests,’” Silverstrand Invs. v. AMAG Pharm.,
Inc., 707 F.3d 95, 101 (1st Cir. 2013) (quoting Ocasio-Hernandez v. Fortuno-Burset, 640 F.3d 1,
12 (1st Cir. 2011)) (alteration in original), or, in other words, the statement of the claim “must ‘at
least set forth minimal facts as to who did what to whom, when, where, and why,’” Calvi v. Knox
County, 470 F.3d 422, 430 (1st Cir. 2006) (quoting Educadores Puertorriqueños en Acción v.
Hernandez, 367 F.3d 61, 68 (1st Cir. 2004)). Where a plaintiff brings a claim against multiple
defendants, the pleading must identify the alleged misconduct and legal claims against each
individual defendant. The plaintiff cannot simply refer to the defendants collectively where it
cannot be reasonably inferred that all the defendants engaged in the alleged misconduct or that
there is a basis for vicarious liability. See, e.g., Atuahene v. City of Hartford, 10 Fed. Appx. 33,
34 (2d Cir. 2001) (“By lumping all the defendants together in each claim and providing no factual
basis to distinguish their conduct, [plaintiff]’s complaint failed to satisfy [the] minimum standard”
of pleading under Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a).)
Defendants Groblewski and Lubelcyzk
Other than including defendants Groblewski and Lubelcyzk in the caption of the
complaint and the recitation of the parties, the complaint does not contain any reference explicit
reference to these defendants.
Campbell does refer to “defendants” collectively, but not in a
manner that allows the Court discern any role—direct or otherwise—these parties had in the
events forming the basis of the plaintiff’s § 1983 or medical malpractice claims.
Campbell has failed to show that he is entitled to relief from these defendants, he has failed to
state a claim against them upon which relief may be granted.
Because Campbell identifies MPCH as the employer of Dr. Churchville and Nurse
Shumaker—the two individuals he claims failed to provide him with adequate medical
treatment—the Court will allow this the state medical malpractice claim to go forward against as
to MPCH because of the possibility that it may be vicariously liable for the alleged negligence of
its employees. See, e.g., Dias v. Brigham Med. Assocs., 438 Mass. 317, 321-22 (2002)
(holding that medical practice group could be held vicariously liable for medical malpractice of
one of its doctors if (1) the doctor was an employee of the group; and (2) the alleged negligent
treatment occurred within the scope of the doctor’s employment by the group).
However, as Campbell’s claims are currently pled, he cannot proceed on his § 1983 claim
against MPCH. Section § 1983 provides that any “person,” acting under the color of state law,
who “subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within
the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the
Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured.” 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
well-established that ‘only those individuals who participated in the conduct that deprived the
plaintiff of his rights can be held liable.’” Velez-Rivera v. Agosto-Alicea, 437 F.3d 146, 156 (1st
Cir. 2006) (quoting Cepero-Rivera v. Fagundo, 414 F.3d 124, 129 (1st Cir. 2005)).
Although MPCH is not a “person” as that word is used in regular parlance, § 1983’s
reference to a “person” can include private corporations providing services under color of state
law, including private corporations providing medical services to state prisoners. See, e.g.,
Palakovic v. Wetzel, 854 F.3d 209, 232 (3d Cir. 2017). However, even if the private entity is a
“person” for purposes of § 1983, liability can only be imposed on the entity itself if its “policy or
custom resulted in the alleged constitutional violations at issue.” Id. Here, Campbell does not
allege facts from which the Court can reasonably infer that the alleged constitutional violations of
Dr. Churchville and Nurse Shumaker were the result of a “policy or custom” of MPCH.
Accordingly, the § 1983 claim against MPCH is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
Accordingly, for the foregoing reasons, the Court hereby orders:
The motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1), the Court assesses an initial partial filing fee of $29.76.
of the fee, $320.24, shall be collected in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).
shall send a copy of this order to the treasurer of the institution having custody of the plaintiff.
The Clerk shall issue summonses as to MPCH, Dr. Churchville, and Nurse
The pl intiff shall serve the summonses, complaint, and this order upon the
defendants in accordance with Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Because the plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, he may elect to have the
United States Marshals Service (“USMS”) complete service with all costs of service to be
advanced by the United States.
If asked to do so by the plaintiff, the USMS shall serve the
summonses, complaint and this order upon the defendants as directed by plaintiff.
is responsible for providing the USMS all copies for service and for completing a USM-285
form for each party to be served.
The Clerk shall provide the plaintiff with forms and
instructions for service by the USMS.
The plaintiff shall have 90 days from the date of the issuance of the summonses to
At this time, summonses shall not issue as to Groblewski and Lubelcyzk because
Campbell has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted as to these defendants.
Likewise, the § 1983 claim against MPCH is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE, because, as
set forth above, Campbell has failed to allege facts from which the Court may reasonably infer
that MPCH violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment.
Should Campbell wish to further
amend his complaint to cure the pleading deficiencies, he may do so in accordance with Rule 15
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
The motion for appointment of counsel is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE to
renewal after the defendants have been served with and responded to the complaint.
/s/ George A. O’Toole, Jr.
GEORGE A. O=TOOLE, JR.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?